Probate delays add to housing shortage

Probate delays add to housing shortage

Long waits having an impact: Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien. Photo: Tom Burke
Long waits having an impact: Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien. Photo: Tom Burke

Delays in validating wills is contributing to the chronic shortage of housing.

New figures show that it can take up to 20 weeks before families receive probate after a loved one has died. This is causing financial stress for families and reducing the number of homes on the market, according to Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Darragh O’Brien.

Information supplied to the TD shows that some 30,000 people pass away in Ireland each year, with up to 87pc of them owning a home.

This means around 26,000 homes could be potentially affected by delays in probate, which is only initiated once a person’s will has been obtained and validated.

The Department of Justice has also confirmed that a group tasked with reviewing probate in Ireland, which was announced in June 2016, has still not been established. These factors are likely to be contributing to the relatively high 9.2pc vacancy rate of 183,000 homes nationwide, Mr O’Brien said.

“In comparison to other countries, probate tends to take an inordinate amount of time to be processed in Ireland.

“The data I have received through Parliamentary Question indicates that the average wait in Donegal is 20 weeks, its just four weeks in Cavan while Dublin has an eight-week average waiting time.”

He said in England it takes on average between three and four weeks for a will to be validated, so-called probate. Mr O’Brien added that the hold ups are having a wider effect on a housing market.

The TD said: “These waiting times have a broader impact on the housing market across the country as up to 26,000 homes per annum are caught up in legal red tape.”

Mr O’Brien said the probate delays reduce the number of family homes available and increases the vacancy rate nationally.

Irish Independent

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